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From Viareggio to Brooklyn, the Universe Inside Angelica Bergamini

The works of a Tuscan artist who moved to New York prompts us to meditate, to the point of attaining self-awareness and freedom

Fons et origo #1 (dedicated to Hypatia), 2017 Collage, cut-outs of archival pigment print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl paper, metal wire. Private Collection

It is the end of 2016. In America, Trump has just been elected President.

Angelica Bergamini has lived in Brooklyn since 2006. She’s an artist from Viareggio who relocated to New York. After the elections, she began producing a new kind of work: her recurrent motif now takes the form of a root. A sort of flight from the climate of uncertainty prevailing in the wake of the socio-political situation the artist was experiencing in the USA at that time. Sometimes colored red, the roots stand out even more, with a deeper significance: rediscovering one’s roots or remaining firmly connected. A veritable need to belong, to be “grounded”, as the artist herself was to explain in an interview years later.

Fons et origo #3 (dedicated to Enheduanna), 2017 Detail of Fons et Origo #3, with the artist in her studio

In Angelica Bergamini’s artistic quest, we find a dimensional shift between the human experience of the individual and the universal experience of the cosmos. If her breath represents a “bridge” between her inner and outer world, Angelica, then, is the bridge between life – her own, and hence that of the individual – and the life of the universe, that is, all other things that exist, live, move, absorb and release energy.   

Critiquing” Bergamini’s artistic output is far from simple: past, present and future are reflected within one another other, shattering images from every time and dimension; subconscious and rationality go hand in hand, fluctuating in an endless harmonious dance while all the energy of the cosmos passes through her body and heart, which are open and ready to embrace what is happening and what will happen, in order to reinstate a different, enhanced energy, like the white light that enters a prism and is refracted into separate components, producing different colors and visions. 

Herein lies her artistic philosophy: Bergamini espouses the insights and research of Jungian psychoanalysis, according to which we are all connected by means of a “collective” energy – the collective unconscious. Thus, we each live and act in an apparently individual and unique way, but we all make a contribution to this connection, we rely on it and are interconnected with it. 

When the child was a child, 2009 Mixed media on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl paper

But this is just the starting point. If I wish to “critique” a living artist, I look at his/her works, since ultimately what the artist offers is a manifestation of his/her mental and experiential background, a vision made concrete in a work to be “metabolized”, perhaps decoded, not a text to be read and understood. And so, I have to put my critic’s hat on again. Without any preconditioning or presuppositions. I’m struck by the different atmospheres Bergamini creates: colors, eyes, marks, that seem to move as if they were winds or planets. I also discover sounds and patterns that come alive with slow, repetitive gestures. I find it all highly evocative. The transposition into another dimension is immediate, but we need further concentration and silence, that is, a “void” – absence of information, preconceptions and distractions – that will enable us to understand the sense that the artwork enshrines, that certain something that, at that very moment, we realize is also enshrined within ourselves, each necessarily referencing the other.

Not just the artist, then. Not just me and the artist. But everyone. This is the crux of Bergamini’s poetic philosophy. I wait a bit longer, I don’t let myself be distracted; I change perspective and my heart and mind are already in those drawings, Know thyself and her Video (e.g. Untitled, 2016 – as well as Remember, 2018), surrounded by sounds and voices that only these works possess. I am there, in those places, those spaces, placid waters and new planets, which overlap in poetic visions (Originem, 2018).

It’s a challenging, but essential, journey. A path that the artist obliges us to take, a personal, unstated prayer that manifests itself in the attainment of self-awareness and freedom that the works necessitate. Beginning with Fons et origo (2018), we are confronted by a déjà-vu of a prenatal nature, in-utero, an allusion that inevitably arises from the colors and their blending: nuances and roots that are protracted perhaps into an embrace that is reassuring, but at the same time, limiting, preventing the journey onto that planet. Because that’s how it is – roots and cosmos are basically a single thing, as are we, energy that takes on different shapes and densities, on the basis of the limits we ourselves impose. My personal favorites are numbers 1, 4 and 5: a constant allusion to myself and the whole universe, in a bouncing-back of icy white: nothingness, the indispensable void; green and turquoise: life, intensity, beauty. What else can one say about Bergamini? Nothing – I would suggest, rather, that you meditate.


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